October 05, 2022
Generational effort to clean Puniu awa
A marae-led initiative to clean up waterways in South Waikato is taking a long-term view of the project.
The Pūniu River is one of the longest secondary tributaries in Aotearoa, running 83 kilometres from the heart of the Pureora Forest to the Waipa River.
It used to be clear with a gravelly bottom but it’s now brown with a muddy silt bed,
Since it was launched in 2015 Pūniu River Care has planted more than 1.2 million trees within the Waipā, King Country and Waikato regions and completed more than 60 kilometres of fencing.
Spokesperson Quinton Tunoho says it now employs 47 people and its Te Awamutu nursery can produce more than 1 million plants a year for restoration projects.
“This is an ongoing project and could take up to 80 years with 80 million trees required just within the Puniu River catchment. We’ve set it up with generations yet to come,” he says.